Privacy Policy

What's here?

First and foremost, we use Taco ourselves. As users, we want:

Easy data removal

We only want to store what you want us to. At any time, you can revoke some or all of Taco's permissions or close your account entirely. Doing so is self-service via the Taco Web site (we hate that "Email us to close your account" gimmick as much as anyone). All online data for your account is deleted immediately and any backup copies will be deleted within 7 days.

Conservative defaults

How many times have you logged into a service for the first time in months and discovered long-forgotten data? If you aren't actively using Taco, we don't need your private data. After 3 months of inactivity, Taco will automatically delete your connector service credentials and Taco's copy of your tasks (without affecting tasks on the linked service).

Taco is one of very few services with such a Dead man's switch, and it's because we are users first. A user should be able to safely walk away and not be surprised when they return 6 months later. When you want to use Taco again, just re-link the services.

We ask for the least amount of access required to deliver Taco. For example, example, our Google permission request allows you to choose which service(s) (Tasks, Gmail, both) Taco should have access to and does not grant access to any other services. Taco has also helped ensure that its access is described clearly.

We store the least amount of data required to deliver Taco. For example, a Basecamp API request for a list of tasks will also return information we don't need, such as the task creator. That information is not retained. The Taco Web site displays substantially all task-related information that Taco has.

We proactively look for opportunities to retain less trust. For example, we sent GitHub a detailed, unsolicited suggestion that they support a new OAuth scope with less access than is currently provided.

If you email us a question, our support inbox may retain your email (and thus your email address). We will not use your address for any purpose other than responding to your inquiry.

Fanatical security

Security is all about reducing risk. We will never knowingly send passwords, credentials, or tasks without encryption ("cleartext"), nor make it possible for you or underlying services to do so. To that end, all of is delivered over HTTPS (SSL encryption).

Taco is hosted on Heroku. This has many benefits, but one of the largest is that Taco runs on a server architecture that is used by hundreds of thousands of other Web applications. Heroku's infrastructure receives a level of testing and monitoring that would be very difficult to obtain any other way.

Because we store access information for your accounts on other services, we have a healthy paranoia about data store security. All credentials for remote services (such as API keys, OAuth tokens, and RSS URLs) are encrypted when stored by Taco. This means that a database breach alone would not disclose usable credentials.

Further, Taco encryption keys are a combination of strings stored in the app (source code), memory, and a database. In order to obtain a key, an attacker would need access to all three. Finally, credentials are only decrypted for the time needed to perform an update (typically 3 seconds or less) and only in memory. While nothing is completely bulletproof, this is as good as is practical given that Taco needs to use the credentials, and is far beyond most services.

Real transparency

If we have a security breach or have reason to suspect one, we will email you and blog publicly about it. This disclosure will receive the same amount of publicity as would a positive announcement. The disclosure will include a detailed point-by-point explanation of what occurred ("post-mortem").

We will keep this privacy policy current as needs change. All changes to this privacy policy are tracked in a revision-control system here so anyone can easily examine all changes.

Modifications to this policy take effect 15 days after the change. While most privacy policies state that changes take effect immediately, we always want you comfortable with terms before they happen. And if you see something that you don't like, please let us know. We probably either need to change it or make the explanation clearer.

Clearly stating small things matters too. Taco uses cookies to identify the account you are logged in to, as do almost all password-protected Web sites. Those cookies are currently:, Google Analytics. We proudly track aggregate usage metrics because it tells us which parts of Taco should receive more attention. As users, we want the most useful features to grow. We do not track individual behavior except as kept in Web application server logs for troubleshooting.

We don't hide behind obscurity or lack of specificity. For example, Taco uses attr_encryptor for encryption and devise for authentication. We are proud to share our infrastructure because we take pride in it. We'll do our best to answer all good-faith questions about Taco's operations.

No finger-pointing

Although we will clearly disclose how Taco uses other services, we are responsible for your data. You are trusting us. A violation of this privacy policy means we failed, not some other party.

Regarding services, we use third-party services for email delivery, performance monitoring, metrics, and other ancillary services, but do not disclose any service credentials with those third parties. Task lists are only disclosed to third parties to provide features that you have requested. For example, as part of delivering daily task lists, our email provider sees the email message which contains your active tasks.

Our hosting service Heroku is the only other entity with any access to service credentials. We've intentionally chosen them as one of few services worthy of that trust (and even in that case, to borrow from the axiom "Trust, but verify," we trust, but encrypt).

We will never disclose your personal information to other entities except: to deliver the service as described above; in the event of an acquisition or transfer of substantially all assets of Taco; or when required by law.

If an acquisition involves personal information, the acquirer will be bound by this privacy policy at the time of acquisition (so that modifications would still require 15 days of notice). If a disclosure is required by law, we will publish as much as possible without imprisonment (following Google's transparency report).

Auditable humans

The two principals are the only people who have access to any private user information. We only use it for troubleshooting, which is usually at your request.

Taco has no Web-based "admin view" where admins can see your tasks. Viewing any task data is and should be annoyingly difficult for Taco principals, not a routine task.

Further, except for operational emergencies, we will always ask for your explicit permission before any other human sees the text of a task. In most cases, task labels are not helpful for troubleshooting.

In the case of operational emergencies (or any other case where a human sees your task data without your explicit permission), we will notify you and provide an explanation within 24 hours.

Taco is operated by two people who have real names and personalities. We think of ourselves as Taco's caretakers. We may sit across from you in a coffee shop from time to time. We're often in Seattle, NYC, and Chattanooga, TN.

Our commitment to you is that we'll evaluate decisions as users: first, last, and only.